3 Reasons NOT to stick to Goals

By Patrick Turner-lee | 90 day challenge VIDS

Mar 14

All of my recent artwork and associated projects have been goal driven. There are more advantages to fixing goals than working without them. Including daily activities where you can check in to see if you are using your time in the best way you can. Over a period of time, I have found a foundation for my long term goals.

To break down the flight path into do-able chunks is incredibly helpful too. Invariably I have days where the energy level is suspect. The ability to complete the tasks in hand that were set when my energy level was high is also questionable.

It is this part of the exercise that is most useful. A goal is a means to enable a process to begin. I am finding that instead of chastising myself for a missed day activity it is more productive to reflect on what it is I can do when my energy levels are different.

So 3 Reasons NOT to stay fixed to goals.

Self Worth-

I am an artist and part of the process is about being able to accept change. This can manifest in ideas for the next piece of work or the relationships that I need to enhance the chance of selling.

If I become attached to a goal I find it easy to complete a task and then relax internally saying to myself “That’s okay I’ve done my bit today lets chill”. Not actually a great habit to build up.

So if I am fixed on creating one painting in a week and I do it by Wednesday; I will glide through the week accomplishing anything.

I am starting to see that persistence in tasks improves skills. Where there is a gap we can set new goals to improve in that area. I am not great at this, to be honest.

I tend to do the things that I excel at and muddle through aspects that I find difficult. If I continue to just do the things that I can, but neglect the new things, I do not grow.

I have had a difficult couple of weeks. When something goes wrong and the answer alludes me it is easy to become downhearted. A mixed message, on one hand, it can be the goal that leads me astray. Without the goal then I would not identify where I need to grow.

This is the time has arrived to reflect on and change our goals. Initially, it is easy to look at this as a failure. In fact, it is precisely why we set goals. The breakthrough when it happens becomes a strength through experience

My problem is not getting started it is about staying focussed and pushing that bit further. To have any vision of becoming successful in my work I need to build a sustainable approach.

Time to become Clear.

Part of the benefit of setting a goal is initiating action. With a creative piece of work, we need time to work out what it is we are going to make. Goals can initiate activity. Taking short steps or researching what you need to get started can be part of the way we work towards an exhibition or making connections.

When we decide to place all activities at the centre with our work as the core of our heart, we see progress. If we doggedly stick to our goals instead of using them to develop a flexible approach we will invariably reach a dead end.

Identifying the tendency to be rigid in our methods is counterproductive. I am beginning to understand these points as I gather momentum in sharing content for example. The online world is developing fast. It is much easier in 2019 than it was in 2018 to accomplish quality articles and videos.

Time can be what we really need and I begin to factor this in the more experienced I become.


Goals are just part of the picture. It is easy to lose sight of the reason why we are doing anything in the first place. Why do I make art? To achieve the best results I try not to really know but just do it. Keep making and then my instinctual self takes over during the execution of in my case a painting.

Deep down though I want to connect with my true self or at least have a conversation with it. This connection is the starting point with myself. On one level the whole reason is so that an individual apart from me will gain some value from having my work in their environment to enhance or inspire.

Maybe as artists, even that comes into questions. In some cases to stir could be another way of expressing a relationship that we can make with someone through expressing ourselves artistically.

Goals can obstruct this fundamental desire.

So to conclude I would like to advise that the setting of goals is important if we want to see progress in our endeavours. They can help us investigate aspects that we may not do without targets. Like everything however negative areas can arise if we become blind to the changing nature of our potential.

The main point is to be aware of what is going on in your art practice and be flexible and ready to adapt.